Facebook created a huge buzz recently when news got out that they were awarded a patent on “curated search”. This type of search involves ranking websites for a specific search term based on link popularity and social activity.
It’s kind of like a new form of artificial intelligence that is used to determine exactly what information you will want to see and displaying the appropriate webpages.
In recent years Google and Facebook have emerged as major competitors in very different fields. But now with Google jumping in with both feet with its Google Plus and Facebook talking more about developing a search engine, the two giant companies are apparently wanting to battle it out with a mixture of social with search. And since both companies are going after this type of technology and both have a huge pocket book, it’s safe to say that this will become a reality sometime soon.
Social search is a trend that is rising in popularity, with Facebook having the first leg up with Bing integration. If you are signed into your Facebook account and you make a search on Bing, you will see your friend’s picture next to any websites that he or she has “liked”. But Bing has yet to win over that loyal base of Google searchers and needs a more accurate and complex search engine algorithm in place in order to compete.
But it’s not easy to just build a search engine, and there is a reason that Google has dominated the field for so long, without spending the billions in advertising that Bing has coughed up to stay competitive. The best sign that Google will have a real competitor like it has not had in years comes from the news that Facebook really wants a piece of the search pie, especially after Google Plus has most brazenly attempted to get a piece of the social pie.
There is a reason that Yahoo search could not keep up with the search competition and had to merge with Bing’s system just so it would not have to use Google’s search. This is a huge undertaking, but if anyone has the money to do it its Facebook. The company is expected to generate over $4 billion in revenue in 2011, which more than doubles the amount of revenue it created last year.
Even though Facebook is using Bing search right now, it makes sense that the two companies would work together to build a better search engine, but adding social into the search results makes the task even more complex.
Some critics say that Facebook is too saturated to compete, and while it’s true that with over 750 million users on Facebook there aren’t many left who don’t have a Facebook account and actually have a computer, this also means that the company has a proven track record of providing users what they want. And if there is one thing that makes a search engine succeed it is just that, giving searchers exactly what they are looking for.
Facebook will have to dig into some deep pockets to fund the resources for a huge product like this, but I get the idea that they don’t like playing second fiddle to anyone. And Google’s recent plunge into social media gave Facebook the motivation they needed to make Facebook search a reality.